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Conservatives poised to win Lithuanian ballot

Conservatives poised to win Lithuanian ballot

A conservative party critical of Russia appeared headed for a victory in the second round of Lithuania's parliamentary election Sunday, signaling the return of a center-right government to the Baltic country.
With nearly half the vote counted in 68 run-off races, the conservative Homeland Union was leading in 24 districts, the Central Election Committee said.
Combined with the 18 seats the party won in the first round two weeks ago, the conservatives were poised to gain over 40 seats in the 141-member parliament, giving it the mandate to form a center-right government.
"Now we can only state the arithmetic fact: we more or less won 20 more seats in the Parliament," said Homeland Union leader Andrius Kubilius. "We will take the responsibility to form a coalition."
Kubilius, a former prime minister and strong critic of Russia, has been stuck in the opposition for nearly a decade.
But Lithuanian voters, exasperated with scandals surrounding the ruling Social Democratic Party and fearing rising energy dependence on Russia, have demonstrated their desire for change.
Earlier Sunday, President Valdas Adamkus said that he would offer the prime minister's job to the party that won the most seats.
Homeland Union has suggested forming a center-right coalition with two junior liberal parties and a political upstart, the National Revival Party, which came in second place two weeks ago.
Kubilius said he expected the four parties would control 75 seats in parliament.
Arunas Valinskas, a TV personality who formed the National Revival Party that finished second two weeks ago, greeted the possibility of a center-right coalition.
"I believe our values, views of the situation and reforms are similar to those of the Homeland Union," Valinskas told reporters.
A conservative-led government would likely inject a fresh boost to economic reforms in the Baltic state of 3.4 million people that joined the European Union and NATO in 2004. But after years of stellar growth, the country is facing double-digit inflation and plummeting consumer confidence.
The Social Democrats were leading in 10 run-off votes Sunday. Two weeks ago the party won only 10 seats.
Social Democratic party leaders said they were ready to work in the opposition but did not rule out taking part in a future Cabinet if invited.
Central Election Commission Chairman Zenonas Vaigauskas said voter turnout was expected to be only 32 percent, including 4 percent by mail.


Updated : 2021-04-13 04:19 GMT+08:00